PhD position Reinforcement Learning and Implicit Prejudice Change
University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Department of Psychology

PhD position Reinforcement Learning and Implicit Prejudice Change


Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences – Department of Psychology


Publication date
20 December 2018
Level of education
Master's degree
Salary indication
€2,325 to €2,972 gross per month, based on 38 hours per week
Closing date
1 February 2019
38 hours per week
Vacancy number

Are you exceptionally interested in science, and specifically in the field of Social Psychology? Is it your ambition to become a top-tier researcher?


The Department of Psychology is a part of the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG), which is the largest educational and research institution in the social sciences in the Netherlands. We are seeking a PhD candidate on Reinforcement Learning and Implicit Prejudice Change. This PhD track is part of the Social Psychology programme group.


Project and job description

You will examine the psychological and neural processes through which implicit prejudices may change. Specifically, this project tests a memory systems model of how existing prejudices toward racial minorities may change, in series of behavioural experiments that combine social psychological tasks with computational modelling approaches.


You will conduct your research under the supervision of Dr David Amodio at the University of Amsterdam and engage with his research group as part of Dr Amodio’s NWO-funded VICI project How do prejudices become implicit? A social cognitive neuroscience account. You will join a vibrant and supportive research group in the Department of Social Psychology at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), with opportunities to interact with other programs and organizations at the UvA (e.g., the Amsterdam Brain & Cognition Centre). You will spend at least one year in Dr Amodio’s New York University lab, in New York City, where you will conduct further research and may participate in seminars, talks, and other activities in the NYU program.


This position includes allowances for research expenses, including computer and recording materials, participant costs, experimental materials, and travel and subsistence costs towards project-specific travel, including conferences. The positions also offer an opportunity to gain experience with teaching, subject to availability and qualifications.



  • You have or are about to finish a Research Master degree in Psychology or related discipline, with a focus on social psychology and/or cognitive neuroscience;

  • you have an interest in social cognition and prejudice from a neuroscience and/or computational modelling perspective;

  • you have experience conducting social psychological and/or social neuroscience research, such as with designing and programming experiments (e.g., using Matlab, Python, E-Prime, or Inquisit), recruiting participants and running experimental sessions, collection and analysis of data (e.g., SPSS or R), or writing of manuscripts/grants;

  • your written and spoken English are excellent and you have a strong interest in pursuing a scientific career;

  • you also have strong research project management skills and the ability to manage workload and resources to meet deadlines and

  • you are willing and able to travel internationally (costs will be covered by the project grant).


Experience with computational modelling or neuroimaging would be advantageous.


Further information

You may direct informal inquiries to:

  • Dr David Amodio

    Please quote 'Inquiry PhD position Implicit Prejudice Project' in the subject line. A summary of the research proposal can be made available for interested candidates.



The position concerns a temporary appointment of 38 hours per week for a maximum term of 4 years. The initial appointment is for one year. Following a positive assessment and barring altered circumstances, this term will be extended by a maximum of 3 years, which should result in the conferral of a doctorate.


Your salary will be €2,325 gross per month in the first year and will increase to €2,972 in the final year, based on full-time employment and in keeping with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities. We additionally offer an extensive package of secondary benefits, including 8% holiday allowance and a year-end bonus of 8,3%.


Job application

The UvA is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We value a spirit of enquiry and endurance, provide the space to keep asking questions and cherish a diverse atmosphere of curiosity and creativity.


Does this profile sound like you? If so, we are eager to receive your CV, a letter of motivation (max. 500 words), and the names and email addresses of three potential references. As this appointment is to work on an already specified project, there is no need to provide a complete research proposal. However, you should include in your motivation letter a research statement that specifies how your interests, skills, and experience to date is relevant to the project.


You can apply online by clicking on the link below.


The deadline for applications is 1 February 2019. #LI-DNP

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Psychoneuroxy


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